A Look Back At The Dungeon & Dragons Cartoon

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Hey Look! A Dungeons & Dragons Ride!

 

 

With those words, 11 year old me, lost my mind one Saturday morning. It was September 17, 1983, I was eating my bowl of my cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons, like always. And bam what is this madness!  Dungeons & Dragons has a cartoon!

 

 

A collaboration between TSR and Marvel Productions & CBS. It was licensed from the tabletop pencil & paper role-playing game, which at the time was only 9 years old.

The show is about six kids who get pulled into the fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons while riding a roller coaster of the same name at a theme park. Side note, why did TSR at the time never license that for a roller coaster, how freaking cool would that have been.

 

 

They each end up with special powers, armor or weapons that represent various classes from the Dungeon and Dragons world, the Ranger (Hank, voiced by Willie Aames of Charles in Charge fame) with his energy bow and arrows, an Acrobat (Diana, voiced by Tonya Gail Smith) with her resizable bo-staff/javelin, a thief (Shelia, voiced by Katie Leigh) who has a invisibility cloak, the cavalier (Eric, voiced by Don Most of Happy Days fame) who has a  shield, the Wizard, (Presto, voice by Adam Rich of 8 is Enough fame) who gets a hat that he can “pull” magic out of, and a barbarian (Bobby, voiced by Ted Field III) who had a  club and an pet unicorn Uni (voiced by Frank Welker (The voice of Transformers cartoons, Soundwave and Megatron.)

Together with the Dungeon Master (voiced by Sidney Miller), the kids are fighting against Venger (voiced by Peter Cullen, who voiced Optimus Prime on Transformers), The big bad they always seem to face each week. There was Tiamat as well. Plus a host of various other evils that dungeon master always seemed to find for the kids to go up against, Hey maybe this is where my DM style comes from. Here Level 1 characters, go kill this dragon.

 

The show was a bit controversial at the time, with all the violence and dark themes in it, I’m not really sure looking back on it, how it even got made, there was an episode of the second season titled “The Dragon’s Graveyard”, which almost never happened because the characters contemplated killing their nemesis, Venger.

In the height of the satanic panic of the 80’s, In 1985, the National Coalition on Television Violence demanded that the FTC run a warning during each broadcast stating that Dungeons & Dragons had been linked to real-life violent deaths.

So does the show hold up today? Sure it does, it has some cheese, but what cartoon from the 80’s does not have a bit of cheese factor, I think the main reason it holds up so well is the wonderful writers that wrote for the show. Uni withstanding never could stand that stupid Unicorn.

 

 

Twenty-seven episodes of Dungeons & Dragons aired between September 1983 and December 1985, but the show was never wrapped up properly before its cancellation. Show writer Michael Reaves had turned in a script for the series finale, “Requiem,” but the episode was never produced for television. it was adapted into a radio play format for one of the DVD releases.

If you want to relive the magic that was the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon you can order the full DVD set via Amazon.

 

*The above Amazon link is an affiliate link, DDO Players will receive a small percent of your purchase back, you will not notice a difference, This is just a small way you can help support the site*

4 comments

  1. Sartorin /

    Loved that show as a kid, bought the DVD set a decade ago for my kids and they loved it too. Nice to see the chars appear in DDO too, or what is left of them, in Fear Factory.

    • I had forgotten about that easter egg!!!!

    • I always feel sad about the fate of those brave kids when I see them in Fear Factory. I’m glad I’m putting them out of their misery of being undead but seems unfair that they never get home and after helping all the residents of the D&D world they end up as just undead monsters :(.
      Maybe I think too much 😉

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